Daily Check-In 11/15/2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Putin’s Chef DENIED

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump last year, rejected Concord’s claim that the allegations didn’t amount to a crime. The ruling means that the special counsel’s office can proceed with the prosecution.

Concord lawyer Eric Dubelier argued prosecutors didn’t accuse Concord of willfully violating U.S. laws, contending it showed a lack of criminal intent. The judge disagreed, stating it was enough that the indictment show that the company knew it was impairing the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, Department of Justice or Department of State.

“Concord goes too far in asserting that the special counsel must also show that Concord knew with specificity ‘how the relevant laws described those functions,’” Friedrich said in her 32-page ruling. “At this stage, the government has alleged the requisite intent and no more is required.”

Concord is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose primary business is catering and who is known as “Putin’s chef.”

Unlike the Russian nationals, who didn’t respond to the charges, Concord hired a law firm and mounted an aggressive defense, questioning the legitimacy of the charges lodged by Mueller.

Looks like this case will continue along.

 

Meanwhile, in other court news…

Interesting.  Let’s check back in 10 days to see what happened that could cause them to ask for an extension.

 

Trump Scared Shitless

I’ve noticed a pattern to these events.  Trump rage tweets about something involving Mueller, trying to rile up the base.  Some big story comes out that distracts from this.  Down the line, we hear about some conversation or new piece of information that he found out about or his lawyers were involved in that kicked him in the head that day.

My guess is that this was the day he found out how truly, absolutely, positively, without a doubt fucked he is.  This is when he found out that his son is going to prison, his daughter is going to prison, his son-in-law is going to prison, his friends are going to prison, and he’s going to prison if he’s lucky.  He’s tried to think that he’s ahead of the game, but that’s no longer true in Trump World.  Either his little lackey saved his own neck and decided not to fuck with Mueller, or he gave Trump the info he could get, and it’s enough to show that Trump’s best bet is to try to flee the country.

Speaking of Tangerine Tojo’s lackey…

 

I knew this fuck-up was coming

President Donald Trump on Wednesday indicated during an interview that he tapped former US attorney Matthew Whitaker to replace then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation.

Speaking to The Daily Caller, Trump expanded on his thought process behind choosing Whitaker to take over as acting attorney general.

“Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man,” Trump said. “He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it.”

He added that he “heard it was a very strong opinion,” referring to the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel’s 20-page memo justifying Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Reiterating that Whitaker is “somebody that’s very respected” — a claim that stands in contrast to many DOJ and FBI officials’ views of their new boss — Trump said he “knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions.”

The president then appeared to allude to the fact that he tapped Whitaker primarily to constrain the Russia investigation.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is an investigation that should have never been brought,” Trump told The Daily Caller. “It should have never been had … It’s an illegal investigation.”

He then tacked on: “And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, [the special counsel Robert Mueller] is not Senate confirmed.”

The admission is reminiscent of when Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt last year that he ousted then FBI director James Comey because of the Russia investigation.

Trump’s statement to Holt now makes up one of the central threads of Mueller’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice in the inquiry, and legal experts told INSIDER his admission to The Daily Caller could add another piece to Mueller’s probe.

“What is so unusual about Trump is that he publicly forecasts his motivation in a way that is self-defeating and self-incriminating,” Elie Honig, a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who specialized in organized-crime cases, told INSIDER.

Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, echoed that assessment.

“The president’s knee-jerk pivot to talking about the Russia investigation when asked about Whitaker’s qualification is what poker players call a ‘tell,'” Cramer told INSIDER.

It was last Wednesday (Daily Check-In 11/07/2018) that Sessions quit and Trump named Whitaker as the Acting AG.  That day, I said the following:

This is a little league play, and Mueller is the New York Yankees. They have this wargammed out.

First, if at any point Trump so much breathes, implies, tweets, or says that he picked Whitaker to stop Mueller, then Whitaker becomes an accomplice in a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. Whitaker then has the choice between trying to follow Trump’s orders, or follow the DOJ’s rules. If he does try to execute Trump’s wishes after Trump makes such a stupid statement, then his actions would have criminal intent.

I figured it was just a matter of time before Trump would admit to the world that he was thinking about the Russia Investigation and Mueller when he fired Sessions and hired Whitaker.

Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for him to fuck himself like this.  Then again, he has been moping about the midterm losses and getting his ass handed to him in the press over the rest of his fights, so it took him some time to open up his schedule enough for some self-sabotage.

 

Protecting Mueller

This isnt McConnell trying to be diplomatic or anything, or trying to avoid an unnecessary legal fight.  He’s trying to save his own shell.  He’s neck deep in this.  Don’t forget it.

 

JAss News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing — a development that could significantly advance the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and have major implications for those who publish government secrets.

The disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

Dwyer is also assigned to the WikiLeaks case. People familiar with the matter said what Dwyer was disclosing was true, but unintentional.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Well, well, well.  What do we have here?

This is very interesting, and moves Julian Assange from the “Assumed Indicted” category to “Waiting to be indicted”, but what for exactly?  Are these charges related to Russia, or some of his other fuckery over the years?

Let’s look at the surrounding case.

The filing in the Eastern District of Virginia came Aug. 22 in a case that combines national security and sex trafficking. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, 29, was charged with enticing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him and send him pornographic images of herself. But he was detained in part because he “has a substantial interest in terrorist acts,” according to the court filing.

His father-in-law, according to the filing, has been convicted of terrorist acts. The case involves previously classified information, according to government filings, and prosecutors plan to use information obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Kokayi was indicted last week and is set to be arraigned Friday morning.

The case had been sealed until early September, though by itself it attracted little notice. On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter — which first brought it to the attention of reporters.

I can’t find any decent info ok Kokayi in a quick Google search, but this is the first time I’ve seen his name brought up.  It’s likely he was interacting with or using Wikileaks for some of his research, and that’s how Julian Assange got pulled into this mess.  I don’t know his involvement in this case, but it was likely more than just hitting his home page.  When the DOJ looked for information on Assange, they found these sealed indictments in some database, it was mentioned in this sealed indictment.  When this document was being scrubbed, his name was missed.

Notice how on the previous legal docs I’ve hosted that people have had been called PERSON-1 or INDIVIDUAL-1?  That’s to protect people who haven’t yet been charged with a crime, or to protect victims or witnesses.  That’s part of the scrubbing process.  What happened here is someone likely missed Julian Assange’s name in this indictment and didn’t catch it until it two months later.

 

Rumor Mill Special: JAss and a Grand Jury

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

Whitaker

 

VETERANS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

Seriously, fuck this guy.  He allowed the personal details of a woman and her family to be posted on his site, then encouraged his readers to harass and attack them.  His actions crossed the line of free speech and entered into targeted assault.  His “free speech” defense ended when the first of his trolls followed his instructions and attacked them.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

#METOO

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

First and foremost, there is minimal correlation between treatable mental illness and violent crime. In a study of 235 mass shootings, only twenty-two percent of the perpetrators could be diagnosed as having any degree of mental illness, with no proven correlation between this diagnosis and the horrific crime committed.

Furthermore, less than one percent of gun homicides overall are committed by people with serious mental illness and there does not seem to be a higher rate of mental health issues in the United States compared to other nations, where rates of gun violence and mass shootings are exceedingly lower.

What is true, rather, is that grouping-suffering individuals with mental health concerns, already stigmatized by society and with poor access to care, with antisocial mass murderers only creates further stigma. Most important to note is that after years of commitment to improving “mental health” spouted by legislators after each mass shooting, there has been no real change to our health-care system or increase in access, with the majority of those with mental health issues not receiving treatment and for those actively seeking help, 1 in 5 still unable to obtain it . It is apparent, then, that the cry for mental health access is a calculated distraction to replace a proven solution with an unrelated issue.

When humanists, activists and especially physicians accept the false relationship between mental health and mass shootings, they perpetuate a lie that does a disservice to both causes. We, as doctors, must lead the way in rejecting this deception and promoting meaningful change on our own terms.

This is a public health crisis that extends well past the realm of the political and in which every doctor must have a voice. As physicians, we must encourage all citizens who are angry, heartbroken, afraid and caught in a cycle of never-ending grief to see past the “mental illness” ruse and demand that our media and politicians address the real causes of and solutions to horrific and preventable mass shootings.

We need better mental health care in this country, but it’s not the sole reason for shootings.  It’s an easy crutch, but most of the mass shooters aren’t crazy.  At least, not crazy enough to qualify as crazy.  The Parkland Shooter, the Vegas Shooter, the Pulse Shooter, and the Borderline Shooter were all not batshit-insane.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

What if your telephone company were allowed to:

-record all of your conversations -note who your friends, family, colleagues and other important people are -note all the keywords used in your conversations -note how many times you use certain keywords in your conversations -note who and what you’re talking about, and when

-assess your emotional state -track everywhere you go, even when you’re not using your phone -catalogue what your face looks like, and what your friends’ and family’s faces look like -assess your health and financial situation based on your conversations and who you call

-track all of the above information about your children

What if your phone company then: -took all of that information about you, and allowed really really bad people to have it -allowed those bad people to pretend they were someone you trust, and call you and trick you into going places and doing things

-allowed those bad people to get OTHER bad people find you. Bad people who want to do horrible things to you.

What if, when confronted, the phone company said that you were in control of 1. Your conversations – you could always opt to not talk to anyone 2. Your phone number 3. Whether or not your number’s in the phone book.

But the phone company continues to collect all of the above information with you, and continues to share it with really evil people.

Would you think the phone company needs to be held accountable? Would you think the phone company needs to be regulated?

Facebook and social media are the Wild F*ckin’ West. It doesn’t matter how many hoodies or shiny self-driving cars are part of the package. They’re operating in a lawless bubble. Remember that as our new, blue Congress is sworn in.

We need to address the problems of Social Media, starting with Facebook.  It’s ugly out there.  Europe is on the right path with their data protections, but we need more.

This sounds like a post for another time.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Apart from allowing more leeway in mandatory minimum sentences, the draft bill could:

  • Extend an Obama-era law that got rid of the sentencing differences between people carrying powder cocaine and crack-cocaine, since crack users often saw harsher sentences. The new bill could apply that law retroactively, which would affect thousands of crack-cocaine users already in prison serving lengthy sentences.
  • Lower sentencing under the federal “three strikes” laws, which 28 states have implemented from a life sentence to a maximum of 25 years in prison in some cases. The “three strikes” penalty punishes repeat offenders who commit two violent felonies and have one other felony conviction, regardless of its severity, from a federal or state court.
  • Better prepare people for life after prison by assessing their risks and needs, while also creating incentives to participate in job-training programs that could allow for earlier prison release and a chance at a job after they get out.
  • Outright ban the shackling of pregnant women behind bars, according to the New York Times, and work to ensure prisoners are placed in facilities closer to their families so they can have proper visitations.

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Friday will be a bit of a holding pattern, waiting to see what’s going on with any possible indictments.  As of Friday 1PM EST, I haven’t heard anything yet.

The Assange thing was a bit of a surprise, but I wonder if those are indictments from before 2016.  Remember, Assange was up to some shit long before Russia in 2016.  That’s just when he pulled off the mask of being a “fighter for transparency” and revealed that he was a Russian shill.

If I get time this weekend, I’d like to write about how I would fix Social Media.  I have no clue where to start, but that’s never stopped me from spouting off my ideas before.  Sometimes they flesh out as I’m rambling.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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